This butter bean curry with mushrooms and peas is a hearty and flavorful dish that is creamy and fragrant. It’s a deliciously warming plant-based meal that’s easy to make.
The main ingredient in this vegan curry is the butter beans themselves. These are also known as lima beans, and they have a creamy texture that makes them perfect for curries. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking for a hearty meat-free meal, butter bean curry is an excellent choice.
The recipe is made with tender, creamy butter beans, meaty mushrooms, and pops of sweet peas that are all simmered in fragrant spices and rich coconut milk. This dish offers a satisfying blend of flavors and textures that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
- Vegan, dairy-free, and naturally gluten-free!
- The butter bean curry is easy to make!
- It’s freezer-friendly! Defrost, reheat, and pair it with rice for an easy weeknight dinner.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Please see the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and the exact measurements.
Butter beans - The recipe calls for 2 cans of butter beans for convenience. If you cook them yourself, use about 3 cups of cooked butter beans. Butter beans and lima beans are the same thing, but for this curry, I prefer the texture of mature butter beans versus green baby lima beans. If you can’t find lima beans, try chickpeas or white beans.
Onion, garlic, and fresh ginger - Any type of onion should work fine, we typically use a yellow onion. If you’re not as big of a fan of garlic, use less. Fresh ginger is better than ground ginger. If you don’t cook with fresh ginger often, it can be frozen so it lasts longer. Peel the root, stick it in a freezer-safe bag, and freeze. Then when you’re ready to use it, use a microplane and grate it into the dish being made; there’s no need to thaw.
Jalapeño pepper - To make the dish less spicy, remove the seeds and ribs of the pepper. To make it more spicy try a Serrano pepper.
Mushrooms - During testing I used white button and baby Bella mushrooms, but most types should work fine. They added a meaty texture to the curried butter beans, but if you’re not a fan they can be skipped.
Spices - A mix of curry powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and fresh black pepper will be used to make these curried lima beans.
Coconut milk - Lite coconut milk or full-fat coconut milk can also be used. If you use full-fat coconut milk, the curry may be thicker so cooking the curry for the last 5 minutes with the lid off before adding the peas may not be necessary to reduce the curry.
Diced tomatoes - The liquid for the recipe comes from a can of diced tomatoes and coconut milk. I didn’t test with crushed or fresh tomatoes, so I can’t say for sure how well they’d work.
Tamari - The tamari adds a nice depth of flavor, but it can be substituted with a low-sodium soy sauce. Regular soy sauce may be too salty.
Frozen peas - No need to thaw, just add frozen peas to the hot curry and they’ll thaw. They add little pops of sweetness but can be left out if you’re not a fan. If you skip the peas, then try adding fresh spinach.
Lemon juice - It adds a little acidity to finish the dish. If you skipped the mushrooms and peas, then lime juice should also work fine. Otherwise, if you don’t have lemon juice on hand then I would skip it instead of using lime juice with mushrooms.
- The curried butter bean recipe has oil-free instructions, but neutral-tasting oil can be used if you’re not oil-free.
- Don’t drain the tomatoes, add the tomatoes along with the liquid from the can.
- Don’t use green baby lima beans, beige colored lima beans (butter beans) work best.
- Prepping the onion, ginger, garlic, jalapeño, mushrooms, measuring out the spices, and opening the cans before cooking is very helpful for the recipe to go more smoothly.
- Having a small cup of water or a squirt bottle of water nearby is helpful if the onions, mushrooms, or spices start to stick. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to prevent burning.
- I use a large sauté pan with a lid to cook the curry. If you opt for a large stockpot then the curry may not reduce and thicken as much as it needs to. Try cooking with the lid off for most of the cooking to reduce. If you are using full-fat coconut milk, keep an eye on it so it doesn't reduce too much.
How to make butter bean curry
For the recipe to go smoother, prep the onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, and mushrooms, measure out the spices, and open the cans before starting to cook.
Start the curried butter beans with a non-stick large sauté pan with a lid, and cook the diced onions with a pinch of salt until translucent over medium heat. For oil-free cooking add a splash of water if the onions start to stick or use neutral-tasting oil.
Then add the diced mushrooms and cook until they shrink in size and start to brown.
Then add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeño pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, and black pepper, and coat the onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 1 minute.
Be sure to not burn the spices. Having a glass of water nearby is helpful for oil-free cooking: add a tablespoon at a time to prevent burning.
Then add the diced tomatoes (don’t drain them, use the liquid too), coconut milk, butter beans, tamari, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, lower to a gentle simmer, and cook for 15 minutes with the lid on.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5 minutes for the sauce to reduce. If you are using full-fat coconut milk this step may not be necessary if it has already thickened.
Then add the peas and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Once the peas have warmed through, add the fresh lemon juice and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Serve the curried butter beans with brown rice, white rice, or basmati rice. Instead of rice try it with naan or cauliflower rice.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, but I would cook them separately and then add them to the curry as per the instructions.
Yes, but they can be sold at different stages of maturity like the younger green-hued baby lima beans. For this curry, I prefer the texture of mature butter beans versus green baby lima beans.
Lite coconut milk or using a stockpot can create a thinner curry. Remove the lid and cook until the curry has thickened to your liking.
Full-fat coconut milk may make the curry thicker than if you were using lite coconut milk. If the curry is too thick try adding more coconut milk if you have it, or vegetable broth. As a last resort try water and keep a lid on the curry while cooking to prevent too much evaporation.
Store: Leftover butter bean curry can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Freeze: It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Store in the freezer in a freezer-safe container with about 2 inches of room at the top of the container for the liquid to expand when frozen. If you serve it with rice, don’t freeze the curried butter beans with rice.
Reheat: Thaw frozen curry in the fridge overnight, then warm in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.
I hope you enjoy the vegan butter bean recipe! If you enjoyed it feel free to rate it and leave a comment.
The butter bean curry is made with tender, creamy butter beans, meaty mushrooms, and pops of sweet peas that are all simmered in fragrant spices and rich coconut milk.
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 ounces (227 grams) white button or baby Bella mushrooms, sliced or diced
- 1 inch grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 can (14.5 ounces (411 grams) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (13.5 ounces (400 milliliters)) light or full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cans (16 ounces (454 grams) each) butter beans, drained
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 cup (120 grams) frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Use a large non-stick sauté pan with a lid and cook the onions until translucent with a pinch of salt over medium heat. For oil-free cooking add a tablespoon of water if they are sticking, or use a neutral-tasting oil.
- Then add the diced mushrooms and cook until they shrink in size and start to brown.
- Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the curry powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, and fresh black pepper into the mushrooms and onions. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes (don’t drain), coconut milk, butter beans, tamari, and salt.
- Bring to a gentle boil, lower to a simmer, and cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. If you used full-fat coconut this step may not be needed if the curry is thick enough.
- Next, add frozen peas and cook for another 5 minutes uncovered.
- When the peas have thawed add the lemon juice and taste and adjust the seasoning.
If you use full-fat coconut milk, the curry may be thicker so cooking the curry for the last 5 minutes with the lid off before adding the peas may not be necessary to reduce the curry.
Don’t use green baby lima beans, white large lima beans (butter beans) work best.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 38 minutes
- Category: main course
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: indian inspired
Keywords: butter bean curry, curried butter beans, vegan curry